Nylon Dapping Block – Another Useful Tool — from Cinnamon Jewellery

If you’re like me and you love adding pattern and texture to your metal jewellery you’ve no doubt come up against the problem of forming a piece of metal with a pattern on it. In my case most of my forming involves using a dapping block or steel stakes. If you hit a piece of textured/patterned metal with a metal tool like a hammer or dapping punch the pattern will become flattened and spoilt. My previous method of stopping this from happening when I wanted to dome a patterned piece of metal would be to use leather to protect the pattern as in this photo…As you can see the leather soon ends up looking a bit battered. It does work but one day when I was flitting about in internetland I came across a nylon doming block and it became a thing I needed to have. So after searching for quite a long time I discovered you can’t get them in the UK. Hmm, no surprise there. I did manage to find one on Amazon from a US seller and for under £5 with postage also under £5 I went and ordered it. I did read the reviews which weren’t great as the blocks are a bit rough but they didn’t put me off as the price was fine and I have tools so I was pretty sure I could sort out any roughness and scratches on the nylon when the block arrived. I’ve since added my own 4 star review with a photo. By the way the link to Amazon is not affiliated – I’m just being helpful in case you wanted one too :)The block arrived pretty quickly from the US which was good and from the top photo and the two below you can see it was a bit grubby and rough but nothing drastic that couldn’t be sorted out.The very small depressions are most likely never going to be used but the block has enough useful sized depressions to make it worth getting.The ridges and rough bits in the nylon were easy to tidy up using a radial polisher with my flexshaft. Don’t get carried away though as it’s easy to start wearing away too much of the nylon! If you don’t have a flexshaft or Dremel you could tidy up the block with sandpaperThe photo below shows the depression after using the radial polisher on the right half. The ridge near the top was still there but a lot smoother and the roughness and scratches were virtually gone.You could leave the block as it is if you didn’t want to clean it up as the nylon is softer than metal so isn’t going to transfer any marks anyway but I wanted to tidy up the depressions I was going to use.I decided to try it out on a copper disc textured with a leaf skeleton.The photo makes it looks like I’ve chosen a punch that is much too big for the size of the depression but it was the right size honestly :)I then used a couple of smaller depressions and punches on the disc to give it more of a domed shape. Another useful thing with the nylon block is you can put the domed metal into a depression that is slightly too small and create a higher dome without having to worry about the dapping block leaving a ring around the metal piece which is what would happen with a steel dapping block. I tried this with the copper disc in a slightly too small depression and it did get stuck in the nylon block but came out after a few whacks on the punch none the worse for it.I was pleased with the result and I will use the nylon block regularly.So what about when you want the pattern on the inside {concave} side of the disc you are no doubt wondering? Nylon to the rescue again!You can also get nylon dapping punches which are much easier to find in the UK. I’ve had a set of these for a few years and they are really useful to use with a steel dapping block when you want to protect the pattern on the inside of the domed metal. The photo just shows two but you buy them in a set of various sizes. I used a nylon punch on these copper star studs to give them a slight concave shape and the nylon doming block was used to give the bronze heart earrings a convex shape.”I told you to write about fish that’s why I’m staring at the wall. Your last post was like how many months ago?? There are many many fish – write about them all. I like fish.”Pixie helped in the writing of this post.You’ve probably noticed I like writing things on bits of paper and various notepads. I just hope you can’t read any of them 😀

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